Shenandoah (Amtrak train)

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Shenandoah at Cumberland station, June 1974.jpg
The Shenandoah at Cumberland in June 1974
Service type Inter-city rail
Status Discontinued
Locale West Virginia
First service October 31, 1976
Last service September 30, 1981
Successor Capitol Limited
Former operator(s) Amtrak
Start Washington, D.C.
Stops 18
End Cincinnati, Ohio
Distance travelled 546 mi (878.70 km)
Average journey time 14 hours 28 minutes
Service frequency Daily
Train number(s) 32,33
On-board services
Class(es) Unreserved coach
Catering facilities On-board café
Rolling stock Amfleet
Track gauge 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm)
Track owner(s) B&O Railroad

The Shenandoah was a daily passenger train operated by Amtrak between Washington, D.C. and Cincinnati, Ohio. The Shenandoah shared the former Baltimore & Ohio (B&O) route with the Blue Ridge, which ran as far west as Martinsburg, West Virginia.[1]:315


The Shenandoah at Gaithersburg in 1978

The Shenandoah began operating on October 31, 1976. Connecting service to Chicago, Illinois at Cincinnati was provided by the Mountaineer/James Whitcomb Riley, which continued east to Washington, Newport News, Virginia and Norfolk, Virginia. After the Mountaineer's discontinuance in 1977 the Riley became The Cardinal and continued to provide connecting service to Chicago. The name came from the Shenandoah, a Washington-Akron, Ohio train operated by the B&O which was discontinued on the formation of Amtrak.[2]:29

Amtrak discontinued both the Shenandoah and the Cardinal on September 30, 1981, citing low ridership figures. Amtrak considered the Shenandoah one of its "weakest lines"; the Department of Transportation had recommended its discontinuance in 1979.[3] A new train, the Capitol Limited (Washington-Pittsburgh-Chicago), took over the Washington-Cumberland stretch and remains in operation, while the Cardinal was revived the following January by congressional mandate.[4]:126–127 The Cincinnati-Cumberland portion remains without rail service, and CSX subsequently abandoned much of the line.[1]:315

Uniquely, the Shenandoah equipment pool in 1978–1979 included a pair of converted Amfleet sleepers (dubbed "Ampad") in response to equipment shortages and a Congressional requirement that overnight trains including sleeping accommodations.[5]:69


  1. ^ a b Schwieterman, Joseph P. (2001). When the Railroad Leaves Town: American Communities in the Age of Rail Line Abandonment, Eastern United States. Kirksville, MO: Truman State University Press. ISBN 0-943549-97-3. OCLC 702179808. 
  2. ^ Sanders, Craig (2007). Akron Railroads. Images of Rail. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 0-7385-4141-9. OCLC 123357483. 
  3. ^ "Shenandoah, Cardinal Make Final Runs: Congressmen Seek Ways To Keep Cincinnati Routes". Toledo Blade. October 1, 1981. Retrieved 2009-10-24. 
  4. ^ Reynolds, Kirk; Dave Oroszi (2000). Baltimore & Ohio Railroad. Osceola, WI: MBI. ISBN 0760307466. OCLC 42764520. 
  5. ^ Sanders, Craig (2006). Amtrak in the Heartland. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-34705-X. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Shenandoah (Amtrak train) at Wikimedia Commons